With a holiday weekend fast approaching this will be a little bit different sort of week for us. We have our first-of-the-season extended camper. We’ve got a neat solo retiree traveling in a Roadtrek who’s here for 8 nights. He’s quite self-contained — he arrived on Friday and his unit hasn’t left the campground but once since arriving 4 days ago.
Every time I see a Roadtrek I can’t help think about my father. He wanted one of these sweethearts in the worst way. He even drove to Ontario to tour their factory — back in the day when you could actually take factory tours that showed you something.
Dad was a Canada-phile. He thought everything Canadian was wonderful. Personally I share a lot of his views, but a.) it’s too cold for me and b.) I’m just a little more reserved in my appreciation. He and I did a couple solo trips to Canada and had a wonderful time. And Peg and I have done a few trips into/through Canada as well. It’s always struck me as rather like being in the U.S. but 10 years ago. I suppose that is not a good impression to take away from a country — specially not the way so many Canadians seem to think that us ‘americans’ ( they’re american’s too but they call themselves Canadians as if to differentiate themselves from us. 🙂 ) I’d hate to wish what we’ve become on them in ten years.
Anyway…We have a couple fellows who sent their wives home after the weekend and decided to stay for an extra night or two. That’s always nice to see.
Then there are the two retired pastors who just left. They never camp on a holiday weekend. Their opinion is it’s just too busy — one of them always hopes that a still-working pastor might call asking whether he can cover for the younger pastor so the younger one can take his family camping. And he’s always glad to do it. An attitude I can certainly appreciate with congestion and traffic and all that’s come to be associated with holiday weekends.
I got to thinking about restrictions in the RV lifestyle. The way we RV I rarely think much about lifestyle restrictions but I noticed something over the weekend that I want to at least mention for those considering RV’ing.
I recently came across a campground with a minimum length restriction. It’s the first time I’ve seen that as a criteria for admittance to any campground. Usually length serves as a limit when you are too long, but until now never because you are too short. Coincidentally, I noticed that feature photo on that campground’s rate page features all high-end diesel pushers — so it’s obvious the message they are sending, and their rate structure bears that out.
But my reason for mentioning it is simple. We’ve been doing this for 5 years now and restrictions are one thing we rarely think about. There are the issues of height and weight that go along with driving down the highway. We’re 13’ tall, 8 1/2’ wide and we weigh just a tad under 30,000 lbs — so there are roads we aren’t allowed on and places that don’t want us. Before we sold the house we weren’t actually supposed to drive on the street in front of our house — but no one ever hassled us about that as long as we didn’t park in our own driveway (which was also not allowed — but we periodically did it anyway).
Most of the restrictions you’ll find while RV’ing relate to your length. Older state parks, or older facilities in general — built before longer RV’s — often have length limits. At 40 feet we can’t get into many of the Wisconsin state parks at all. They simply were designed for camping in units under 30 feet long. We knew that when we bought Journey (she was 32’ long) and we rarely had any problems but even at that length there were still a couple campgrounds we were excluded from. And the decision to go longer was really a calculated choice — comfort all the time or the ability to get into more campgrounds. Thus far we have not regretted the decision at all.
Recently I came across a Volunteer.gov gig posting that limited the volunteer to an RV no longer than 27 feet. There have been some gig posts that specifically tell volunteers that there is not dump station, or is no electric, or whatever — but at least the agencies are honest about that and I’m sure those limitations play into who, and how many, volunteers apply for those gigs.
One restriction that is increasingly more common is a limit on the AGE of your RV. We knew this before we bought our 2005 coach, and both RV campground’s and lenders tend to see a ten year old RV as kind of a hard limit. The campground operators don’t want their campground to look like it’s inhabited by a bunch of low-life’s so they arbitrarily say, if you’re RV is older than 10 years you aren’t welcome. It’s a kind of discrimination — sure — but frankly being able to see the limitation on their campground tells me that’s not the kind of place I want to patronize anyway. I’ve seen people in brand new coaches I wouldn’t want to live near, and I’ve seen people in older units who are like family. I don’t think those kinds of ’tests’ are a measure of who my friends should be.
Having noticed minimum length as a restriction I think that’s going to cause me to be even more aware of whether I notice patron limits at all, or whether we notice other limits that we might have ignored in the past. If it’s something that doesn’t affect me I tend not to pay any attention. (For example, when we’re going down the Interstate where I know the minimum clearances are going to be greater than 13’6” I never even think about how lot the bridges are — but Peggy, who still isn’t as accustomed to driving in something this tall, still likes to check out every single low bridge warning — even if it’s 16 feet. It’s all about experience and comfort levels)
To be completely honest, I tend to consider cost per night over most other considerations when making overnight choices. That’s one reason we tend to choose public campgrounds over private ones. A lot of the private campgrounds are, quite simply, out of our price range. I don’t find value in spending excessive amounts of money for things I may not use. For example, we travel with fresh water on board, and room in our wastewater tanks. If we are stopping for two to four nights along the way I don’t HAVE TO have a full hookup. Half the time I won’t even bother making the connections if I do have a full hookup. I don’t like to drain my tanks too soon — it only bollixes up the sensor units — so I don’t want to bother dumping at every opportunity.
On a related but side point. I make it a point to almost never leave my wastewater tank valves OPEN. That started out because we often have sites without full hookups and we simply had to wait until we got to a dump station to empty our tanks. But I have also realized that if you leave your valve open you also provide a highway into your tanks for undesirable insects — like roaches — which can and will climb up INSIDE the plumbing and emerge through your sink or shower drains if you don’t have them secured. No One like roaches. And keeping them OUT of the RV is a primary goal — at least it is for me!